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Khalid Al Qasimi

Designer label Qasimi’s creative director tells Graeme Moran why he enjoys the disciplined approach to creating menswear.

You recently showed your autumn 13 menswear collection. Tell us a little about it.

For autumn 13 I looked into the psychotic nature of man, inspired by movies like The Third Man and American Psycho, with hints of underground rituals and bal masqué, which featured in Eyes Wide Shut. We’ve had a great response so far in Paris and Milan with appointments and are focusing on the UK now with appointments throughout February to showcase the range to current and new stockists.

You debuted your menswear collection in Paris in 2009 - why did you show there rather than London?

Since launching menswear we’ve always shown during Paris Men’s Fashion Week; this was before the introduction of London Collections: Men (LCM).

This season you held a presentation at LCM as well as your Paris catwalk. Why did you do both?

We are a UK brand based in east London and wanted to reinforce our brand heritage. We had an overwhelming response.

How did the two shows differ?

Paris offers its tradition and heritage of investing in menswear with its fashion week, but with the introduction of LCM, London is offering an exciting platform for brands. There is a genuine energy around London and its brands.

Would you ever move the show to London permanently?

I enjoyed the process this season and would love to build on this.

You studied Hispanic studies and French literature, and then architecture before coming to fashion. Why did you make the move?

I’ve always been interested in design across various disciplines and it felt a natural progression. I endeavour to incorporate each of these elements into each collection and they remain integral to the brand ethos.

Qasimi started as a womenswear brand - what’s different when designing for men and women?

There are more restrictions when designing for menswear; there are certain codes that cannot be too exaggerated and I find being creative within these frameworks interesting.

You put the womenswear line on hold in 2010. Why, and will it ever come back?

I’m in constant talks about reintroducing the womenswear line. I’m currently looking for a larger work space to start the ball rolling.

What do you think are the biggest challenges of setting up your own brand?

Having the courage to start and go it alone, but ensure you have a strong support network. The advice, guidance and support by organisations such as the British Fashion Council are integral.

If you could be stocked anywhere in the world, where would it be?

There are so many stores I respect and aspire to work with, from Mr Porter to Selfridges.

What other designers do you admire?

Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton. I’ve always admired his work.

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